The time a Miami Marlins ace was unfairly denied a Cy Young award

Dontrelle Willis
Dontrelle Willis / George Gojkovich/GettyImages

Do you remember former Miami Marlins (Florida Marlins at the time) starting pitcher Dontrelle Willis? As The Fish make changes for the stretch run, why not take a look at an interesting event from history? Back in 2005, Dontrelle Willis competed in a NL Cy Young race against that year's winner. The winner? St. Louis Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter. It's tough not to look back and see that Willis was the rightful winner.

The 2005 NL Cy Young race should've ended with the Miami Marlins ace Dontrelle Willis winning.

Dontrelle Willis was a promising arm for the then Florida Marlins from 2003-2004, delivering a 3.70 ERA/3.76 FIP with 7.1 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9, in 59 games and 357.2 innings pitched. He took it to another level in 2005 however. That season, he delivered a 2.63 ERA/2.99 FIP, with 6.5 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9 in 34 games and 236.1 innings pitched. That season was worth an astounding 7.3 WAR. Did Chris Carpenter match that performance?

Chris Carpenter had a 2.83 ERA/2.90 FIP, with 7.9 K/9 and 1.9 BB/9 in 33 games and 241.2 innings pitched. He was worth 5.8 WAR. It was obviously a great performance, but was it better than Willis's? Was it even close?! Wins were a factor here, though pitcher wins are probably the most useless statistic in the game, as a pitcher can't control how his teams bats perform. Willis actually outdid Carpenter in that 22 to 21! So how exactly did Carpenter win the NL Cy Young award over the D-Train?

Dontrelle Willis had a better ERA and more importantly a significantly higher WAR. That clinches it for me. At the time, WAR wasn't a widely used statistic, and certainly wasn't considered by most voters. That said, Willis was winning in both ERA and wins, so I can't see any argument for why Carpenter won the award instead.

Sadly as we know, Dontrelle Willis never reached those heights again. He had a 4.49 ERA/4.70 FIP, with 6.4 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9 in 69 games and 428.2 innings pitched in the next two seasons. He was traded to the Detroit Tigers and things only continued to get worse. It's sad that the D-Train went off the tracks, without a much-deserved NL Cy Young award.

3 worst trades in Miami Marlins history. 3 worst trades in Miami Marlins history. dark. Next